What: Molson Indy Vancouver, Round 15 of CART's 19-race FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, Sept. 6, 1:00 p.m. local time. Where: Concord Pacific Place, Vancouver, British Columbia -- 1.82-mile temporary street course. Distance: To be...
What: Molson Indy Vancouver, Round 15 of CART's 19-race FedEx Championship Series. When: Sunday, Sept. 6, 1:00 p.m. local time.
Where: Concord Pacific Place, Vancouver, British Columbia -- 1.82-mile temporary street course.
Distance: To be determined.
Broadcast: ESPN, 5:00 p.m. EST and live on the CART Radio Network.
History: Last year's Molson Indy Vancouver was a season best for Jimmy Vasser and a roller-coaster ride for Alex Zanardi. Vasser started in third place and finished second. Vasser led a race-high 46 laps but finished 2.872 seconds behind first-time winner Mauricio Gugelmin. His previous season-high was third. Zanardi began on the pole and finished in fourth place. He led the first 15 laps of the race but handed the lead to Bobby Rahal when he ran into the runoff area and stalled. Zanardi ran off course again much later in the race and after three more laps, he made contact with Bryan Herta. CART chief steward Wally Dallenbach fined Zanardi $25,000 and put him on probation for the balance of the 1997 season for rough driving.
Fan Phone: Racing fans can hear the latest CART news on the Target Fan Phone, the Official Fan Phone of the FedEx Championship Series. Gary Gerould, well-known ABC and ESPN reporter, provides complete practice, qualifying and race results. The toll-free number from the U.S. and Canada is 1-800-297-9590. The Fan Phone is available for use by the public and media.
* Zanardi has won six races this season, including five of seven road-course races.
* Zanardi's four consecutive wins earlier this season (Detroit, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto) tied the CART record set by Al Unser Jr. in 1990.
* Target/Chip Ganassi Racing has posted 21 victories over the last two-and-a-half seasons. The rest of the CART field has 26 wins.
* Zanardi ranks eighth in CART career victories with 14.
* Zanardi has 17 podium finishes in his last 21 races, including six victories, three runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes in 14 races this season.
* Target/Chip Ganassi Racing has been on the podium in 20 of 22 races dating back to last year's race at Cleveland. The two exceptions were this year's races at Motegi and Mid-Ohio. Zanardi and Vasser shared the podium four times during that stretch (Laguna Seca in 1997 and Nazareth, Toronto and the U.S. 500 in 1998), giving the team 24 podium appearances in 22 races.
* Zanardi reached 14 victories faster than any driver in CART history, accomplishing the feat in just 43 races. Rick Mears is next on the list, reaching 14 wins in 44 starts from 1979-82.
* Twelve of Zanardi's 14 CART victories, 18 of his 24 podium finishes and eight of his 10 pole positions have come on road or street courses. In the previous 13 road/street races, he has eight wins, two runner-up finishes, one third-place finish, one fourth-place finish and one 12th-place finish.
* Vasser and Zanardi, who won PPG Cup championships in 1996 and 1997, respectively, are the first CART drivers to appear on a Wheaties box. The boxes are available in Target stores nationwide while supplies last.
* Vasser has finished all but one race this season and has completed 49 of his last 53 races dating back to Cleveland in 1995. Vasser led all CART drivers in races completed in 1996 (16) and 1997 (15).
* Zanardi boasts the best winning percentage among the 12 drivers who have 10 or more CART victories. Following are the top five: Zanardi .304 (14 wins/46 starts); Bobby Unser .270 (10 wins/38 starts); Michael Andretti .164 (37 wins/225 starts); Rick Mears .144 (26 wins/180 starts); Al Unser Jr. .126 (31 wins/245 starts).
* With 206 points, Zanardi has surpassed his point total from all of last season (195) when he won the PPG Cup. Since 1983, only Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal and Zanardi have reached the 200-point plateau in a single season.
* In order to clinch his second consecutive PPG Cup in Vancouver, Zanardi must have at least an 89-point lead following the race. He currently leads teammate Jimmy Vasser by 80 points, Adrian Fernandez by 86 points and Greg Moore by 88 points.
* Zanardi and Vasser have won eight of the 14 races this season, including six in a row from Milwaukee to Toronto. The last team to win six races in a row was Team Penske, which reeled off seven consecutive victories in 1994 with drivers Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi.
* Vasser has finished in the top eight in 16 of his last 19 races. He has scored points in 49 of his last 56 races dating back to the 1995 season.
* Vasser has started 81 consecutive races since the 1993 season, the third-longest streak among active CART drivers. Only Bobby Rahal (92) and Mauricio Gugelmin (83) have more consecutive starts.
* Zanardi and Vasser are ranked 1-2 in CART victories, points and earnings this season.
* Vasser's second-place finish in Vancouver last year was the first of three straight podium finishes to end the season.
Jimmy Vasser: "In terms of the track at Vancouver, it's been completely reconfigured since last season, so it's going to be like racing on a brand new course. They've added some new turns, there are a couple of new passing areas and I think the whole track is going to be a lot less bumpy. All of the changes are really positive and should make for faster and more exciting racing."
Alex Zanardi: "We are close to the championship, but I don't want to think about that yet. I just want to get out there and race to a good finish. My team has been doing a great job this entire season, and I think that Vancouver will not be any different. We expect a challenge this year because it is a new circuit, but we have risen to challenges all along and hopefully we will come out with a strong performance again."
St. Jude Children's Hospital:
* Once again this year, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is donating $5,000 for each race win, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Contributions are being used for construction of the Target House at St. Jude's.
* The team has already raised $59,075 this season, surpassing the team's 1997 donation. Target contributed an additional $1,000 when Alex Zanardi registered his 1,000th career lap led in the Rio 400 on May 10, bringing the grand total raised this season to $60,075.
* In 1997, the team raised $46,275 for St. Jude's Hospital. In recognition of the team's back-to-back championships, Target matched that donation and rounded up to bring the total donation in 1997 to $100,000.
* The team's top five single-race totals over the last two seasons are as follows: $7,975 at Cleveland 1998; $7,600 at U.S. 500 1997; $7,575 at Gateway 1998; $6,925 at Milwaukee 1998; $6,750 at Cleveland 1997.